Draft Board Numero Uno

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OK folks, the season is over.  It's time to start thinking about the draft (as if we weren't doing that already).

Our first 2010 Hoopus Draft board is below the fold.  

A few things before we get started.

NCAA Tourney play is not taken into consideration. What that means for us here at Hoopus is that it is time to tune out the NCAA tourney performances and post version #1 of our post-season draft board.  Why do we tune out the field of 64?  

An NBA insider once told me that if you want to be drafted high, there's nothing like playing well in the NCAA tournament. That's intuitive, but also a bit of an insult to the NBA decision-makers. In what wacky world would a few flashy, luck-infused wins in a single elimination tournament overwhelm the combined insight of the years of scouting, interviews, measurements, evaluations and the like that teams tell us they perform?

Nevertheless, Berri and Schmidt have found the claim to be amazingly true. "A player who appears in the Final Four," they write, "can improve his draft position by about 12 spots." 12 spots! That's a ton! Other factors that they find affect draft position include points scored, shooting efficiency, assists, steals, blocked shots and height (relative to position). Interestingly, staying in school, but not improving as a player, was cause to fall an average of five spots in the draft -- which would seem to be an argument for coming out earlier, especially when you consider the author's evidence that even years after the fact, draft position has a heavy influence on playing time.

...

And here's the kicker. The authors found that playing for an NCAA champion in the year drafted is a statistically significant predictor that you will be less productive in the NBA.

Randy Foye and Jonny Flynn are Timberwolves exhibits 1 and 1a in overvaluing post-season college play in the face of a significantly larger body of regular-season work that suggests a different type and quality of player. One-and-done tourneys are no good way to judge college talent. There is too much that could go wrong in this small and quirky of a sample size to make any sort of conclusions about Player X, Y, or Z. If we ran the Wolves' front office, this is the time of year where we'd take a looonnnnngggg trip to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. There's not a very good chance that you are going to learn something about a player over the course of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 games that you shouldn't have already gathered over the course of the previous 30.

The Hoopus Score does not take into consideration differences in conferences and strength of schedule. I tinkered with a version of the score that would allow for this but I think it works much better by subjectively putting players into tiers and then using the score to rank them. I have also adjusted the Hoopus Score so that it doesn't try to get 15 as the number of an average player. This time, I did away with trying to find an average and simply weighted efficiency scores according to things like position and age. I also added in two composite scores. The first one documents the ratio between usage rate and true shooting percentage and the 2nd one adds together block% and steal%. All of these numbers are then added together before the players are placed into subjective tiers and ranked.

The big change with this year's number is that I took all of the things I didn't use in the score (strength of schedule, conference ranking, height, weight, age, eyeball ranking, etc) and used them to place the players into tiers, which were then ranked out according to their own Hoopus Score.  I have provided an un-tiered list at the end of the draft board so you can see how everyone played out and how I put everyone into tiers.  

With no further delay, here is the first version of our post season draft board:

Tier One:

 

  1. DeMarcus Cousins (135.387)- Holy crap did this guy have a great year.  He does everything you could possibly want from a big.  He shoots a high rate from 2, he draws a huge number of fouls (8.4/40), he blocks shots (7.9%), he owns the offensive glass (2nd in the nation with a 20%), and he carries a massive usage rate without turning the ball over a ton.  This guy deserves consideration for the #1 pick.  There have been all sorts of rumors about his character but I honestly have no idea what the real deal is.  Here's hoping the Wolves are putting in a ton of leg work on this kid because he's clearly one of the top 2 or 3 prospects in the draft, especially if his whispered red flags are really nothing more than adjustable attitude problems.  If he measures out as having legit NBA center height and length, he'll be a tough prospect to pass over...no matter where the Wolves end up drafting.  Last year Blake Griffin put up a modified Hoopus Score of 136.727.  He was the highest ranked big (and player) in the past 5 years.  Cousins nearly matches him. It's really hard to overstate just how well Cousins performed this year.  His offensive rebounding (20% vs 14.1%) and shot blocking (7.9% vs 3.6%) were well above and beyond what Griffin put up, which are things you like to see in a young big. Cousins also got to the line at a better clip (73.1% vs 70.6%) and turned it over less (14.8% vs 18.1%).  Impressive stat: 19.2 OReb%, which is good for 2nd in the nation. Unimpressive stat: He doesn't have any.  His red flags are all off the court...or, sometimes on the court, as is the case with him jawing at Coach Calipari during the Elite Eight loss to West Virginia. 
  2. Evan Turner (129.271)- He is a solid prospect at the 2 or 3.  He boasts the 6th highest usage rate in the country with the 9th highest assist rate.  He draws 5.6 fouls per 40 minutes with a FT rate of 39.3.  He turns the ball over a tad too much (21.5%) but he also boasts a combined 5.9% block/steal rate.  He can also rebound the hell out of the ball, which is never a bad thing.  His big draw back is that he doesn't possess the upper-level athleticism you'd like to see on the wing.  The big unknown about Turner is how well he can play off the ball in the NBA.  He's not going to post a 34.4 usage rate (or its equivalent) in the pros.  How much of his effectiveness is tied to the fact that he always had the ball in his hands?  Whatever the case, for those of you who have seen Ohio State play this season, you know full well that Turner was the entire team.  He had to carry that big of a load and it is amazing that a single player was able to carry his team as far as Turner did with the Buckeyes.  Also, in terms of the Wolves, Turner is the type of player that can play well off the pick and roll (the guy is a threat to shoot, pass, and drive when he comes off a pick) and in the Triangle.  He's also the closest thing in this draft to the type of player you can throw the ball to during a bad stretch of play and say "end this".  Impressive stat: He carried the 8th highest ARate in the country while taking nearly a 3rd of his team's shots while he was on the court while carrying an insane 34.7 usage rate.  He is a fantastic defensive rebounder for his position.  He also carries a TS% of 58.1%.  Lots of possessions + lots of assists + lots of rebounds + good shooting = you can't pass this kid up.  Unimpressive stat: 21.5 TO%.    
  3. Derrick Favors (123.267)- Favors gets the bump because of the "what could be" factor.  He played on a team with some seriously rec-league guards that really did him no favors in getting him the damn ball.  He carries a nice TS% with some solid signs of being a guy who can block shots and play good defense.  I don't think he's quite the uber-athlete that many people seem to believe he is for his position, but he's definitely one of the better prospects in this top-heavy draft class.  He certainly compares well to recent big prospects in their freshman year and he rates well in eFG, TS%, OR%, and free throw proficiency while making more than 60% of his shots from 2.  If he measures out with decent length, he'll be worth an even bigger look.  Impressive stat: Did I mention the .613 shooting from 2?  This guy also clears the boards (12.3/20.5 o/d reb%).  It will forever remain a mystery as to why Georgia Tech didn't get this guy more shots.  Unimpressive stat: 23.3 TORate.  
  4. John Wall (122.268)- For a quick comparison, Derrick Rose posted a modified Hoopus Score of 121.971 in his only year in college under John Calipari.  Check out some of these comparisons between the two players (Wall/Rose): TS%: (56.9/56), OR% (2.5/5), FTr (54.4/47), steal% (2.8/2.3), assist% (34.5/30.4), turnover rate (24/19.1).  Both players feature mind-bending athleticism and NBA level length for their position.  Rose played on a better team than Wall so he carries a better ORtg and he had more back court help with CDR so there was always someone with more experience there in the back court to help him with the ball handling duties.  Both players carried an almost identical load: 27.3 usage rate for Wall and 27.2 for Rose.  The bottom line for this draft is this: Would you take Derrick Rose with the top pick if he were in this draft in place of John Wall?  Would you be even more inclined to take a player nearly identical to Rose plus the chance to be better on defense, better at getting to the line, better from inside the arc, and who may even really be 6'4" and with longer arms?  Impressive stat: 34.8 Assist%, good for 26th in the country.  Unimpressive stat: .325 from beyond the arc.  Strike against him: highly questionable shooting from outside and a mid-range game that is not nearly as developed as Derrick Rose's.  He also did not display the type of take-it-all-over ability that Rose started to flash (and is currently flashing) during his freshman season.  I think he will end up being a more complete player than Rose, but not as gifted as a scorer.  
 Tier Two:
  1. James Anderson: (129.178)- This year's James Harden is the first pick on the board should the Wolves lose out on the four most talented players in the draft.  He is a fantastically talented scorer who may be a bit of a disappointment on the defensive end of the court.  He carries a TS of almost 60% while getting to the line at a fair clip and not turning the ball over.  In a relatively weak draft from here on out, Anderson is the best non-Turner wing prospect on the board.  Impressive stat: He carried a 59.6 TS% on a 30.9 usage rate while only turning it over to the tune of 13 times for every 100 possessions.  Yes please. Unimpressive stat: nothing really stands out on the stat sheet but this guy simply did not show any signs of being able to defend.  That quality probably makes him an ideal candidate for the Wolves. 
  2. Cole Aldrich: (128.14)- Aldrich didn't quite put up the numbers a lot of people expected during his junior season and Kansas made an early exit from the tourney, but the fact remains that Aldrich does two things very well that will never go away: Blocking shots and getting rebounds.  Yes, there are some other bigs who are more athletic and flashy, and he needs some work on the offensive end of the court, but the guy has legit size, can defend, and gets rebounds.  He will make Oklahoma City a very happy ball club.  Impressive stat: 13.0 block% (5th in the nation) with a 25.7 DR%.  Again, this guy will defend and rebound with huge size.  Unimpressive stat: .562 shooting from 2.  When you're that big, and you're that close to the basket...
  3. Elliot Williams: (124.385)- This is where things start to get iffy.  The Duke transfer put up some excellent offensive numbers at Memphis but if you have watched him in action (especially near the end of the year) you know that he has some very Foye-esque flaws in his game.  He's kind of an in-between guard with finishing issues.  Randy Foye, Rashad McCants...the Wolves know this type of player and even though he is rated high during a weak draft class, they should stay as far away as possible.  Impressive stat: Gets to the line with a 66% free throw rate.  Unimpressive stat: many kamikaze drives end with him being unable to finish.  If he doesn't get the calls in the NBA, his game will go to pieces.  This guy is a 3rd guard in the NBA.  
  4. Ed Davis: (124.051)-  Davis was unable to make it through the season and I'm not really sure what type of player he really is, but 6'10 with 57% shooting from 2 while getting to the line and cleaning the boards is pretty hard to overlook.  Impressive stat: 28th in the nation in block%, 45th in the nation in DR%, and he shoots .578 from 2.  Unimpressive stat: 6.7 assist rate.  
  5. Elias Harris: (121.171)- This is an even more potential-based pick than Davis.  It would be nice to see a year or two more from the small forward prospect in college but if he comes out this season, there's enough on the books to place him above other wing players like Wes Johnson and Aminu.  
  6. Greg Monroe: (120.743)- Here is where the red flags start to come into play.  He can really pass the ball but he can also really turn it over and not rebound as well as you would like to see a guy rebound from that position.  Monroe is one of those guys you hope is available with the Charlotte pick because there is no way he should be considered in the top 10.  
  7. Wes Johnson: (120.5)-  Wes Johnson is going to get a lot of mentions with Wolves fans but he has some fairly significant red flags.  If he were drafted by the Wolves, he would start the season as a 23 year old swing man from Syracuse (hello zone!) who needs work on his handle.  Midway through the season he went through a dry spell that reminded everyone of the player he was at Iowa State: a nice player but not someone to consider with a top 5 pick.   
  8. Jeff Taylor: (119.37)-  Another potential-based pick who definitely needs another year to develop in college.  He faded near the end of the year but the tools are all there...except outside shooting, which is horrific.  
  9. Willie Warren: (118.02)- Warren is probably one guy who should be used as a case study for those players who need to leave after a single year of college.  The kid had everything going for him next to Blake Griffin.  He waited a year and regressed.  That being said, he's still a guy who put up nice numbers as a freshman and has shown enough talent to play at the next level. 
  10. Al Faroq Aminu: (117.757)-  I honestly have no idea how to classify this guy.  He's a tweener forward and his athleticism and length will serve him well in the pros, but is he the type of guy the Wolves could use on the wing and with their current core? 
  11. Patrick Patterson: (117.335)- Which player had the highest ORtg and TS% on Kentucky?  This guy.  He is the CDR of Calipari-coached power forwards who will be able to contribute to his team on day one. Impressive stat: 128.7 ORtg (5th in the country) with a 10.5 TO% (44th in the country).  This guy is going to be a very solid mid-to-late 1st round pick.  Strike against him: His defensive rebounding should be better.  
  12. Xavier Henry: (115.285)-  He had a big in-season slump with some nice play down the stretch.  He has nice size and a good outside shot.  
  13. Da'Sean Butler: (113.691)-  How bad is the injury?  Not a world-beater by any stretch of the imagination but a nice pick late in the 1st/early 2nd.  
  14. Kyle Singler: (112.97)- Singler is one of those guys who will need to be able to make the outside shot if he is going to succeed at the next level.  If he can do that, he will be a nice role player. I know we don't place much stock in tourney play, but as you could see during the NCAAs, the guy has some legit defensive instincts and he should be able to be a functional two-way rotation player between 15-20 minutes a night.  
  15. Devin Ebanks: (108.471)- Another guy who gets a pass because of his defensive potential at the next level as a role player.  
  16. Eric Bledsoe: (106.657)- He got to star next to John Wall and he started to show signs of being able to shoot the 3 near the end of the year.  Impressive stat: nothing jumps out.  Unimpressive stat: 27.5 TO%.  Run away.  


Tier Three:

  1. Hassan Whiteside: 130.19- Red flags from here to the coast.  Old for his class, academic problems, didn't dominate Jerome James, and so on and so forth.  Avoid.  
  2. Jarvis Varnado: 129.721- I really thought about bumping him up to tier two but at the end of the day his size will be too much of an issue in the pros.  He could end up being a good backup at the 4, something the Wolves do not need at this point.  
  3. Larry Sanders: 128.81- He has excellent length and could be worth a flier late in the draft.  
  4. AJ Ogilvy: 127.52- May be worth a peak in the 2nd round.  
  5. Artisom Parakhoski: 125.96- This draft definitely has its share of backup bigs and Parakhoski is another big body that could likely be had late in the first round or early 2nd. 
  6. W. Witherspoon: 122.15- I'm not really sure why he doesn't get more mention...for a late first/early second type of selection.  
  7. Paul George: 121.771- George is only a sophomore so I'm really debating bumping him up to the 2nd tier.  He's probably worth more of a flier than someone like Eric Bledsoe.  Ultimately, I think I bump him up to the 2nd tier before the draft.
  8. Charles Garcia: 119.9- Started the season out like gangbusters and ended it busted.  
  9. Epke Udoh: 118.3- Have you seen his shooting numbers? He is a big with an eFG below 50%.  WARNING, WARNING, WARNING!!!
  10. D. Saunders: 117.87- Here's another guy that I think will move up to tier two.  He's probably a better selection than Devin Ebanks and he rebounds well.  This is a guy who I like a lot for the late first round for the Wolves.  
  11. Gani Lawal: 116.351- Not much to say about the guy. 
  12. Jon Scheyer: 116.171- Might be a nice 2nd round pick. 
  13. Sherron Collins: 109.91- Avoid at all costs. 
  14. Stanley Robinson: 109.05- There are quite a few wing prospects in the draft that would be much better than Mr. Robinson.  
Un-tiered list
  1. DeMarcus Cousins: 135.387
  2. Hassan Whiteside: 130.19
  3. Jarvis Varnado: 129.721
  4. Evan Turner: 129.271
  5. James Anderson: 129.178
  6. Larry Sanders: 128.81
  7. Cole Aldrich: 128.14
  8. AJ Ogilvy: 127.52
  9. Artisom Parakhoski: 125.96
  10. Elliot Williams: 124.385
  11. Ed Davis: 124.051
  12. Derek Favors: 123.267
  13. W. Witherspoon: 122.15
  14. John Wall: 122.268
  15. Paul George: 121.771
  16. Elias Harris: 121.171
  17. Greg Monroe: 120.743
  18. Wes Johnson: 120.5
  19. Charles Garcia: 119.9
  20. Jeff Taylor: 119.37
  21. Epke Udoh: 118.3
  22. Willie Warren: 118.02
  23. D. Saunders: 117.87
  24. Al Faroq Aminu: 117.757
  25. Patrick Patterson: 117.335
  26. Gani Lawal: 116.351
  27. Jon Scheyer: 116.171
  28. Xavier Henry: 115.285
  29. Da'Sean Butler: 113.691
  30. Kyle Singler: 112.97
  31. Sherron Collins: 109.91
  32. Stanley Robinson: 109.05
  33. Devin Ebanks: 108.471

Well folks, that about does it.  This is a relatively deep draft for big men and a fairly weak one for guards.  There are 4 guys at the top who all Wolves fans should feel good about, 2 or 3 risky potential picks, and then a whole lot of bench players.  It's a deep draft in the sense that there should be a lot of guys who can play minutes, but it's a very thin one in terms of sure things and starters.  

Right now, my Wolves draft board looks like this:

 

  1. DeMarcus Cousins
  2. Evan Turner
  3. Derrick Favors
  4. John Wall
  5. James Anderson
  6. Ed Davis
  7. Elias Harris
  8. Cole Aldrich
  9. Wes Johnson
  10. Jeff Taylor
  11. Al Faroq Aminu
  12. Patrick Patterson
  13. Xavier Henry
  14. Greg Monroe
  15. Kyle Singler
  16. Larry Sanders
  17. Paul George
  18. D. Saunders

 

What say you? 

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